Beth Collins

Beth Collins

Shareholder

Background

Respected authority on California and Central Coast land use, environmental and real estate issues. Leads developers, energy companies, large land owners and cannabis and hemp growers through complicated land use matters. Expansive expertise in entitlements, enforcement matters and litigation. 

Beth Collins is a problem solver who handles high-profile, large and controversial land use matters along the Central Coast and throughout California. She formulates strategies that help her clients—landowners, public agencies and institutions, energy companies and battery storage developers—navigate all stages of the development process from application through construction. Whether considering a property acquisition, developing property or in litigation defending a permit, Beth brings a rare blend of significant entitlement, transactional and litigation experience. 

Beth understands the critical issues impacting development in California. She has extensive California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Coastal Act, Subdivision Map Act, Endangered Species Act and easement, title and public law expertise. Her experience spans from Coastal Commission permitting and enforcement, the Housing Accountability Act, to climate change, adaptation and sea level rise. She frequently advocates before numerous courts and local and state agencies including the California Coastal Commission and Public Utilities Commission. Beth works to proactively mitigate issues before they end up in court. Beth also chairs the firm’s California Real Estate and Land Use Group.

Representative Matters

Energy Development & Climate Change Resiliency

  • Represented Mustang Renewable Power Ventures LLC and MSB Investors during development and execution of a public-private partnership project with the County of Santa Barbara to modernize the Tajiguas Landfill with a state-of-the-art anaerobic digester and materials recovery system to create a renewable natural gas system and significantly increase Santa Barbara’s recycling rate. Brownstein assisted with CEQA, Coastal Act, and other land use advice regarding modification of entitlement approvals for the proposed development. Brownstein also settled litigation challenging approvals.

  • Provided land use and CEQA compliance advice to various major utilities on energy projects and issues, including a large transmission line project traversing two counties, a hydroelectric dam, and a 50-mile natural gas pipeline and provided appellate defense in Court of Appeal and Supreme Court regarding CEQA challenge to California Public Utilities' rulemaking related to liquefied natural gas (LNG).

  • Provided land use, entitlement, and real estate counsel to numerous battery energy storage projects across the state, including successfully streamlining the CEQA process for a 100-megawatt, 400-megawatt hour battery energy storage system in unincorporated Ventura County, California.

Coastal Act & Coastal Commission Practice

  • Provided strategic advice to numerous clients regarding Coastal Commission appeals, settlements, acquisition due diligence, litigation, permits and notices of violation.

  • Represented the Hollister Ranch Owners Association on Coastal Act and public access easement issues, including litigation against the California Coastal Commission and State Coastal Conservancy related to public access.

  • Represented University of California, Santa Barbara on their Long Ranch Property Management Plan; the Port of Long Beach on their Port Master Plan; a major hotel developer in an enforcement action; and enforcement and claim of vested rights for property in Laguna Beach.

Other Land Use and CEQA Experience

  • Provided land use and CEQA compliance advice to various housing and mixed-use projects through entitlement and associated litigation, including the largest mixed-use project processed and approved by the City of Goleta; the Village at Playa Vista in the City of Los Angeles; and the Chadmar Group’s settlement with Save San Marcos Foothills.

  • Represented Vail Resorts to permit the first Mountain Master Plan for the Northstar ski resort in the North Lake Tahoe area of California, adding six new ski lifts, 300 acres of new ski trails, a high-speed gondola, improved cross-country skiing and trails, a new remote campsite and skier service improvements.  Successfully defended litigation challenging the Master Plan approval.

  • Successfully defended CEQA, Williamson Act, and land use litigation challenging cannabis cultivation permit in Santa Barbara County.

  • Represented an alliance of three agricultural organizations (Ventura County Coalition of Labor and Agriculture, Farm Bureau of Ventura County, and Ventura County Agricultural Association) in litigation challenging Ventura County temporary ordinance that significantly limited outdoor hemp cultivation.  Successfully supported effort to enact permanent ordinance to strike proper balance in addressing competing stakeholder concerns – reasonably allowing hemp cultivation in the County while protecting sensitive receptors such as homes and schools.

Insights & Publications

Credentials

Education

  • J.D., 2002, UCLA School of Law
  • M.Ed., 1999, Arizona State University
  • B.A., 1993, Smith College

Previous Experience

Associate, Latham & Watkins (Los Angeles)

Clerk to the Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew, United States District Court for the Central District of California

Clerk to the Honorable Justice Norman L. Epstein, California State Court of Appeal, Second Appellate Dist., Div. Four

Admissions

  • California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California

Memberships

Los Angeles County Bar Association, Environmental Law and Real Estate Sections

State Bar of California, Environmental Law, Real Property, Public Law, and Litigation Sections

Santa Barbara Bar Association and Santa Barbara Women Lawyers

Community Involvement

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT:

Board of Directors, White Buffalo Land Trust

Executive Committee, Equality California Institute, 2016 – present

Public Policy Committee, Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce, 2020-present

UCLA Law School Law Firm Challenge Firm Representative, 2010 – present

Head of School Evaluation Committee, Crane Country Day School, 2021 to present

Board of Trustees, Crane Country Day School, 2015 – 2021

Board of Directors, Goleta Valley Chamber Of Commerce, 2016 – 2020

Board of Directors, Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce, 2020-2021

President of the Board, Equality California Institute, 2016 – 2020

Chair of the Development Committee of Equality California and Equality California Institute, 2014 – 2016

Co-Chair, LA Equality Awards, 2014 - 2017

Executive Committee, Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite, 2014

Chair, State Bar Environmental Executive Committee, 2011-2012

Co-Chair, Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite, 20th Anniversary Conference, 2010-2011

Co-Chair, State Bar Task Force on the Sustainable Practice of Law, 2008–2009

Co-Chair, State Bar Access and Fairness Committee, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination, 2005–2006

Teach for America, Teacher and Mentor, 1995–2003

Representative Pro bono clients: White Buffalo Land Trust, Armenian American Museum and Cultural Center of California, California Women’s Law Center Habeas Project, Islamic Society of Santa Barbara, League of California Cities, California State Association of Counties, the Children’s Project Academy, Children’s Museum of Santa Barbara (MOXI, the Wolf Museum of Exploration and Innovation), and the Alliance for Children’s Rights

Recognition

AWARDS:

"Beth Collins has been fantastic. She is a terrific relationship manager who brings terrific knowledge and understands our needs so well." "She's so smart and very talented at what she does." – Chambers USA, 2023

"This project could not have been handled without Beth Collins' involvement." "She is very focused and resourceful in seeking the proper results." – Chambers USA, 2022

Who’s Who in Commercial Real Estate & Construction, Pacific Coast Business Times, 2023

Best Lawyers in America, 2023-2024

Chambers USA, 2021-2023

Lawdragon Green 500: Leaders in Environmental Law, 2021, 2023-2024

Thriving in Their 40s, Los Angeles Business Journal, 2020

Who’s Who in Energy & Environment, Pacific Coast Business Times, 2017

Who's Who in Professional Services, Pacific Coast Business Times, 2016-2017

Top 50 Women in Business, Pacific Coast Business Times, 2016

Top 40 Under 40, Pacific Coast Business Times, 2011